Ministers discuss the impact and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas hosted a ministers breakfast to engage in dialogue about how to best impact the health and wellbeing of at-risk youth particularly related to sexually transmitted diseases and other preventable diseases burdening communities in the second district.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

: The term “sexually transmitted diseases” or “STDs” represents a group of more than 25 different diseases that can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact. An STD is a disease/infection you can get or give to someone else by having oral, vaginal or anal sex or other intimate contact with him/her.

How common are STDs?

STDs are very common in the United States. There are 19 million new cases each year in the United States. By the age of 25, 1 in 2 sexually active people will contract an STD. 1 in 4 teenagers has an STD. In the United States, there are approximately 2.3 million new chlamydia infections a year. Over 40 million (1 in 5) people have genital herpes and 20 million have genital warts (HPV). These numbers surpass the 1 million cases of HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

What are the typical symptoms of STDs?

Many STDs have no noticeable symptoms. In fact, a very common symptom of an STD is no symptoms at all. Having symptoms is a good thing because they let you know that something is wrong. When they do occur, typical STD symptoms for women may include unusual vaginal discharge (flow), sores, bumps, burning when urinating, and redness or itching around the vaginal area. Typical symptoms for men may include discharge from the penis, burning when urinating, and sores, bumps, or redness on or around the penis.

How are STDs transmitted?

STDs can be transmitted through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. They can be transmitted from partner to partner with or without visible signs or symptoms. Many people can pass an STD to a sex partner without knowing it. Some STDs can be passed without having intercourse; they can be passed through skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact is the rubbing or friction that takes place during intercourse or foreplay. This contact leads to tiny little cuts (micro tears) in the genital area which allow the STD agent (virus or bacteria) to enter the body. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is a protective barrier; however, when broken, foreign agents can enter the body.

Can herpes be passed when there are no symptoms?

Yes, it is possible to infect someone with herpes, even when you don’t have any symptoms. Once thought to be transmitted only when sores were present, recent research has shown that herpes simplex virus (HSV) can be passed even when no visible signs are present.

Can I get STDs from a towel or a toilet seat?

Most STDs, such as chlamydiagonorrheasyphilisherpes, and genital warts, are spread only through direct sexual contact with an infected person. Crabs (pubic lice) or scabies, which are often sexually transmitted, can be passed through contact with infected items like clothes, sheets, or towels. It is highly unlikely for a person to contract an STD from a toilet seat.

What should I do if I think I have an STD?

If you think you have an STD, see a health care provider immediately. Seeking treatment early will help to minimize the long-term effects of most STDs. For gonorrhea and chlamydia infections, avoid sexual contact until you are cured. Make sure your partner(s) get tested and treated too. Otherwise, you can get re-infected. Some clinics can give you medication to take home to your partner(s). Viral STDs such as herpes and genital wartsare not curable but medications are available for their treatment and management. For STD clinic locations in Los Angeles County, call the Los Angeles STD Hotline at (800) 758-0880 oir visit our clinics section. For all other areas, contact your local or state health department for a clinic near you. Most STD clinics provide services for free or at low cost.

Can I get an STD more than once?

You are not “immune” to an STD if you have had it before. STDs caused by bacteria (chlamydiagonorrhea, and syphilis) can be treated and cured, but you can get them again if exposed. Viral STDs (such as herpes and genital warts) cannot be cured and may remain in your body forever. People who have had Hepatitis B in the past and “cleared” it, develop immunity to that infection.

Can all STDs be cured?

Bacterial STDs like chlamydiagonorrhea and syphilis, can be easily treated and cured. Viral STDs like herpesgenital warts, and HIV are incurable, but there are treatments available to lessen the severity of the disease. Vaccines are available to prevent the onset of certain STDs such asHepatitis B and HPV. For vaccines to be effective, a person has to be vaccinated before they are exposed to the infection. For this reason, it is recommended that most people get vaccinated against these infections at an early age.

Is it true that if I get tested for HIV, I get tested for all STDs?

No. Each STD, including HIV, has its own test. Talk to your doctor or other health provider to make sure you’re getting the test you need.

Can I test myself for STDs?

Currently, there are no home tests for STDs available in Los Angeles. The only way to know if you have an STD is to see a healthcare provider and get tested. See our clinics section for free and low cost testing.

Do I have to go to a clinic to get my STD treated?

Answer: Yes. It is very important to go to a clinic or other healthcare facility to get tested and treated for your STD. Avoid online treatments of STDs. Some websites offer STD treatment for a fee. Please note that these are not approved by the FDA and do not cure or treat the infection. For proper treatment and care, please see your doctor or other healthcare provider. For a list of STD clinics in Los Angeles County, please call the STD Hotline at 1-800-758-0880 or visit our clinics section. For all other areas, contact your local or state health department for a clinic near you. Most STD clinics provide services for free or at low-cost.

How serious are the complications of STDs?

If left untreated, STDs can lead to major health problems. HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Other STDs can cause infertility, tubal pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and serious complications in newborns. HPV can lead to cervical cancer in some women if not diagnosed in time. For this reason, it is very important for women to get regular pap smears.  The onset of STD complications varies from person to person. Generally speaking, complications from STDs can occur within months to years after infection.

Are women at greater risk for STDs?

Yes, women are at greater risk for many STDs, including HIV. Women are biologically more susceptible than men to becoming infected if exposed to an STD. STDs are also less likely to produce symptoms in women, and therefore are more difficult to diagnose until serious problems develop, such as PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease).

What is the best protection against STDs?

All STDs are preventable. Abstinence (not having sex) is the only sure way to prevent an STD. If you are having sex, correctly using male (latex or polyurethane) or female (polyurethane) condoms can significantly reduce the risk of getting an STD.  Limiting your number of sex partners and number of risky sexual encounters can also reduce your risk of getting an STD.  See Prevention

What is the link between HIV and other STDs?

Many STDs increase the risk of HIV transmission. syphilis and herpes cause ulcerations or sores which can provide HIV with easy access into the bloodstream. CShlamydiagonorrhea and trichomoniasis infections lead to inflammation. Inflammation causes an increase in CD4+cells, cells targeted by HIV. This is believed to increase a person’s chances of becoming infected with HIV if exposed. People with an STD such as syphilisgenital herpeschlamydiagonorrhea, or trichomoniasis are 3 to 5 times more likely to contract HIV, if exposed, than people who are not infected with an STD.

I’ve just been diagnosed with an STD. Does this mean my partner has lied or cheated on me?

No, not necessarily. Not everyone will have symptoms of an STD even though they are infected. A partner can pass a disease to another without ever knowing s/he has had something. You, the unfortunate current partner, may be the one that actually ends up with symptoms. You may also have received your STD from a previous partner years ago and are just now seeing the signs of the disease.

How can I tell if my partner has an STD?

In most cases, you cannot tell by looking if someone has an STD. STDs often do not have visible symptoms.

If I get a pap smear regularly, wouldn’t the doctor tell me if I had an STD?

No, not necessarily. A pap smear is looking for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells. STD exams are unique tests that look for specific STDs. They may take the form of a blood, culture, or urine test. Be sure and ask your doctor for the name of the test you want done (for instance, chlamydiasyphilis, or HIV).

For information on free and low cost STD testing and treatment services in Los Angeles County, call the STD Hotline at 1-800-758-0880 or visit our
STD Testing & Services section of the County website. 


Painting for the future of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas addresses 200 young scholars at the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital.

A sea of smiles from 200 children ages five to 16, surrounded the Supervisor and his wife Mrs. Avis Ridley-Thomas as they arrived at the Interns and Residents Building at the new Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.

Led by City Year staff to their canvases with smocks on and paintbrushes in hand, these children were ready to paint panels for display on the 900 foot – long Multi- Service Ambulatory Care Center walkway.

Freedom School scholars cheer and chant in preparation for painting.

The student artists were drawn from several Freedom Schools, a six week summer literacy program in the Second District. As part of the Freedom School Curriculum, Freedom School students read books, illustrate their comprehension through arts, crafts, dance, sports and music, go on field trips, and engage in community service in a nurturing environment that fosters growth and development.

Freedom School’s was established in 1992, by Children’s Defense Fund founder and children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman, Freedom Schools provide rigorous, quality summer and after school instruction to children who live in urban areas. The programming, which is both challenging and entertaining, is based on the belief that all children are capable of learning and achieving high standards.

For the past month, the schools in the second district have taught more than 200 students at the four sites located at: First New Christian Fellowship in South L.A.; Bethel A.M.E. Church in South L.A; Community Coalition at Foshay Learning Center in South L.A; and First Church of God in Inglewood.[pullquote_right]”Your young , intellectual, and creative minds are painting dreams of a bright future,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]

In preparation for the 2013 opening of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas partnered with City Year Los Angeles, the Department of Public Works, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi- Service Ambulatory Care Center to provide Freedom School students with the opportunity to paint the mural.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas & Ms. Avis Ridley-Thomas direct young painters on the “dream” mural.

The finished product was a colorful collage that depicts dreams of a bright future for themselves and their community.

The mural will be displayed in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center.

Second District School-based health centers awarded federal dollars

Great news for eight school-based health centers in the Second District. The centers will share $1.5 million in grants from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), funding dedicated to address capital needs in school-based health centers.

The four successful Second District grantees are:

  • University Muslim Medical Association (UMMA) Community Clinic, for its efforts to open a school-based health clinic at Freemont High School ($106,950);
  • To Help Everyone (T.H.E.) Clinic, for its school-based health center that serves all students in the Lennox School District ($415,393);
  • Watts Healthcare Corp, for the Jordan High School and Locke High School School-based health clinics ($499,999); and
  • St. John’s Well Child and Family Center for multiple Second District school-based health centers at Dominguez High School, Hyde Park Elementary School, Manual Arts High School and Washington Prep High School.

Nineteen school-based health centers affiliated with federally qualified health centers (FQHC) are being developed or already exist throughout the Second District, all of which are expected to be fully functional in late 2012.  These grants are part of national healthcare reform legislation, which dedicated monies to construct and purchase equipment for school-based health centers.

Congratulations to the successful Second District grantees as well as the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Relay For Life of Baldwin Hills


300 participants from the Second District came out to the Baldwin Hills Relay For Life on Saturday, June 25 to raise awareness for cancer research.

More Info (PDF Flyer)…

P2011 Photos…

What is Relay For Life?

Relay For Life of Baldwin Hills is a fun and unique 24-hour walkathon to increase cancer awareness while raising much-needed funds for the American Cancer Society’s patient service programs, cancer research, advocacy and community education. Teams composed of 8 to 24 people formed by local businesses, community groups and friends & families will be raising funds before the event. At Relay, team members take turns walking around the track, Relay-style and enjoy games, food, fun, activities and entertainment throughout the day and night.

We Celebrate Cancer Survivors

Wearing their purple t-shirts and medals presented to them by Relay volunteers at the event, survivors took the first lap together, and then were treated to breakfast. Cancer Survivors’ strength and courage help the community see that cancer survivorship is real – that we are making progress in the battle against cancer.

We Remember those we have lost to cancer

At 9 pm, the light of Luminaria bags glow in the darkness, lighting our way through the night. Each Luminaria has written on it the name of a loved one lost to cancer or one who is a cancer survivor as well as a personal heartfelt message. These Luminaria remind us that we walk for the lives that cancer has touched.

We Fight Back!

No one should have to hear the words “You have cancer,” so we do everything we can to make sure that participants are educated not only about prevention and detection of cancer, but also about the American Cancer Society’s free programs and services for patients and their families.

Teaming Up for the Fight…How you can help

Teams came from friends, family, businesses, clubs, families, hospitals, faith-based groups, schools, and service organizations.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Master Planning Kickoff

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas hosted a community meeting on Wednesday June 22, 2011 at Victoria Community Park in Carson to introduce the County’s master planning efforts on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. In his remarks, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas stressed the importance of community input and engagement in developing a master plan for the Harbor-UCLA campus that meets the needs of the users and the surrounding community. After a series of presentations, community members participated in an interactive workshop providing their thoughts about different issues at four idea stations around the room related to health and wellness, campus uses, economic development, and the physical environment. Click on each link below to view the presentations and idea station materials from the community meeting.

It’s not too late to provide your input! Please email with any questions or comments you have about the materials shared at the meeting.